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United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

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The UNCRC is an international agreement that protects the human rights of children under the age of 18. It was ratified by the UN General Assembly in 1989.

In 1991 the United Kingdom formally agreed to ensure that every child in the UK has all the rights listed in the convention. The Welsh Government adopted the Convention as the basis for policy making for children and young people in Wales in 2004.

There are 54 articles in the Convention. Articles 1-42 set out how children should be treated. Articles 43-45 are about how adults and governments should work together to make sure all children are entitled to their rights.

The 'Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure' 2011

The 'Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure' 2011, received unanimous cross party support when it was passed at the National Assembly for Wales in January 2011.

The Measure strengthened and built on the rights based approach of the Welsh Government to making policy for children and young people in Wales. It placed a duty on all Welsh Ministers to have due regard to the substantive rights and obligations within the UNCRC and its optional protocols.

The Children's Rights Scheme

Section 2 of the Measure requires Ministers to publish a Children's Rights Scheme which sets out the arrangements Ministers will have in place to have due regard to the UNCRC.

Welsh Ministers published their first Children's Rights Scheme in May 2012 which set out the arrangements for complying with the due regard duty when considering proposed new legislation, proposed new policies and a review of or change to an existing policy and/or legislation.

The duty to have due regard to the UNCRC has been extended further and from May 2014, all Ministers will need to have due regard to the UNCRC when exercising any of their Ministerial functions.

In light of the extension, Ministers have reviewed the Scheme and revised the arrangements in place to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Visit the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) website (external link) for more information.